Record number of virus cases from PNG arrive in Qld hotel quarantine

Traveller caps from Papua New Guinea into Australia have been reduced.

Traveller caps from Papua New Guinea into Australia have been reduced. Photo: ABC

A record number of COVID-19 cases from Papua New Guinea have been recorded in hotel quarantine in Queensland.

Eight new cases were recorded in hotel quarantine overnight, with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk saying six of those were returned travellers from PNG.

“I think that’s one of the largest [daily new totals in hotel quarantine] we’ve seen,” Ms Palaszczuk said on Thursday.

“With six positives from Papua New Guinea, all of the measures announced yesterday are very timely.”

There are now 48 active cases of COVID-19 in Queensland hospitals.

In the last fortnight alone, there have been 55 new cases in hotel quarantine.

“That’s something we need to be very much aware of, and once again, I’ve been a very strong advocate for regional quarantine and we’re still yet to hear about that [from the federal government],” Ms Palaszczuk said.

So far no cases of community transmission have been linked to a Brisbane doctor who contracted the British strain of the virus.

Ms Palaszczuk said the state and Commonwealth health departments were also working on a plan to send health workers to PNG to assist in the country’s worsening virus outbreak.

Flights into Cairns from PNG were suspended on Wednesday and some of Australia’s vaccine stocks were diverted to the country.

PNG High Commissioner John Ma’o Kali told the ABC he was grateful for Australia’s assistance during the worsening health crisis.

“I really want to thank the Australian government for their support to Papua New Guinea with the vaccine, and the support with the manpower, with the support of other equipment,” Mr Kali said.

“What they’re doing is only cementing and encouraging Papua New Guinea to continue to regard Australia as our closest friend.”

queensland virus

A doctor contracted COVID-19 while working at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital.

Backflip on anaphylaxis advice

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath sparked confusion on Wednesday when she asked people who suffer anaphylaxis to hold off on receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine, after four reactions in 48 hours.

However, Queensland Health swiftly corrected that advice on Thursday to be in line with the Therapeutic Goods Administration, which recommends they go ahead with the shot, but be monitored for half an hour.

“The vaccine program is going full steam ahead,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“The TGA came out and made definitive advice yesterday and they’re the proper people to do that,” she said.

Asked whether Ms D’Ath had been wrong in her directions, Ms Palaszczuk suggested her minister had not been incorrect.

“Early in the morning there were some initial concerns, and she was doing an early morning press conference and I back what she said.”

Meanwhile, the Premier said the state’s chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young was still considering whether the lockdown of aged care homes and hospitals in Brisbane would lift on Friday.

“It’s looking good and Dr Young was very positive on our phone hook-up this morning, so fingers crossed for overnight,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

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